Relocating Your Family to Japan

You’ll know that relocating to another country has its challenges and can be grey-hair inducing. Add an animal or two into the mix, and your anxiety levels could be through the roof. At PetAir, they understand that these furry animals are very much part of your family, and will help guide you through the process with ease. Remember it’s something that they do all day, every day. PetAir has fine-tuned their services to accommodate both you and your animals and take the stress out of travelling. 

What is the process?

We firstly recommend that you give yourself ample time to ensure the smooth running of your relocation. Please start the process as soon as you have your relocation confirmed because it can take a few months. There can be unplanned setbacks or delays with vaccination requirements, animal illness or administration errors.

Recruit PetAir

The rules and regulations surrounding pet importation are often changing. You can breathe easily with PetAir. They have fully trained experts that understand the importance of your pets and the ever-changing landscape. They will make sure that your pets meet the import requirements. Each pet must be fully vaccinated and be at least three months old. 

Banned breeds

Japan does not ban the entry of any breed of dog into the country. It is not permitted to import aggressive dogs of any breed into the country. Each airline can refuse to board an aggressive dog.


Designated and Non-Designated Countries 

Japan has categorised countries into two classes depending on their rabies status.



Australia Fiji Islands, Guam, Hawaii, Iceland and New Zealand. 

Your pet cat or dog must have resided in the designated country for at least 180 days immediately before export into Japan, resided in the designated country since being exported from Japan or continuously resided in the designated country since birth. If your pet does not meet these conditions, they will be quarantined immediately on arrival to make up for insufficient days.



All other countries. 

If your pet is coming from a non-designated country, then you will need to ensure that each pet has a rabies vaccination and titre test. You must wait 180 days after the titre test before entering into Japan. The vaccination and antibody test must still be valid. Your pet will be quarantined on arrival to make up for insufficient days if they have not completed 180 days. 


Advance Notification

PetAir will notify the Animal Quarantine Service in Japan that your pet will be imported into the country at least 40 days in advance. They will be issued an approval form that will allow you to import your pet.



It’s essential to ensure that your pets have all of the relevant vaccinations within the stipulated times.

The department recommends that your dog receives a vaccination that protects against Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Para-influenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica and is valid for the entire post entry quarantine period.


  • Leptospirosis
  • Parvovirus (DHLPP)
  • Hepatitis
  • Parainfluenza
  • Distemper 
  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica 
  • Canine Influenza 



  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
  • Calicivirus
  • Panleukopenia (FVRCP)


All of these vaccinations should be administered no less than two weeks before your export date and must be valid post quarantine.


Your pets must also have treatment for internal and external parasites.

Rabies Vaccine and Certificate

Cats and dogs must be vaccinated against rabies. Your vetinerary surgeon will provide you with a certificate that states the microchip number, the validity of the vaccination, and the date of inoculation. Rabies vaccines are valid for one, two or three years. The vaccine must be the inactivated or recombinant variety. The vaccine must be administered at least 180 days before your pet’s flight into Japan. 

Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titer Test (RNAT) for Cats and Dogs

Once your pet has had their rabies vaccination, you will need to wait approximately four weeks before collecting a blood sample for the RNAT test. The test must meet the following requirements:

  • A government-approved vet must scan the cat’s microchip and collect the blood sample for the RNAT testing in an approved country
  • The microchip number must be recorded accurately on the blood tube and laboratory submission form
  • The test is to be carried out by the competent authority approved laboratory in the country of export. It is possible to draw blood in one approved country and have it tested in another approved country
  • The testing laboratory must use either a fluorescent antibody virus neutralisation (FAVN) test or a rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT)
  • The laboratory report must be in English and written on the testing laboratory’s letterhead. It must include:
  • the cat’s microchip number
  • the blood sampling date and location
  • the signature of the person issuing the laboratory report
  • the test type and test result
  • A result of 0.5 IU/ml or more is acceptable. A result of less than 0.5 IU/ml is not acceptable and you must re-vaccinate and repeat the testing process.
  • The RNAT test is valid for 24 months from the date of blood sampling. If the RNAT test is more than 24 months old at the time of export, it is not valid, and you must have your cat re-tested
  • Your pet is only eligible for export to Japan 180 days after the blood sample arrives at the lab for this RNAT test and has a satisfactory result


Once satisfactory results have been received, you will need to complete the following:

  • Submit the RNAT test laboratory report and rabies vaccination certificate to an official government veterinarian.
  • An official government veterinarian in the country of export must complete, sign and stamp the RNAT test declaration.
  • The microchip number, test result and blood sampling date must be consistent on the RNAT test laboratory report and RNAT test declaration
  • Ensure that the completed RNAT test declaration states the name of the testing laboratory


The authorities will only identify your pets with a microchip, and the corresponding vet stamped pet passport. A microchip is an integrated identification circuit placed under the skin of your pet. The rice grain size chip uses passive radio-frequency identification technology. It must be implanted before the rabies vaccination is administered. The Japanese government accepts microchips that comply with AVID 9 or AVID 10 and ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO standard 11785.

The microchip must have the ability to be read by an Avid, Trovan, Destron or other ISO compatible reader. If the microchip cannot be read, your pet will not be permitted entry into Japan. Ensure that your microchip number is unique and does not begin with 999.

Your government approved vet must record the microchip number on all documentation.

Import Permit

PetAir can provide you with the necessary import permit that is required to allow your pets into Japan. Each of your pets will require an import permit from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment through their Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON). You will need to provide the following supporting documentation:

  • Rabies vaccination and RNAT test declaration form.
  • RNAT test laboratory report.
  • A veterinary medical form from your veterinarian detailing any medical conditions 

The PetAir team will provide you with the exact requirements for your country of origin. Ensure that you allow at least 40-working days to have your import permit application processed. The import permits are valid for 12-months from the date of issue.

Veterinary Certification

You will need to send an official health certificate that states the name, age, description and microchip identification number of each pet within five days of your flight. The microchip identification number is 15-digits long. Without this, the government will deny your pet entry into the country. 

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment states that the certificate must also include the following information before export:

  • The animal has been examined and found to be healthy and free from any clinical sign of rabies, leptospirosis and infectious, parasites or contagious diseases 
  • The animal has been vaccinated against rabies using an approved anti-rabies vaccine
  • The vaccination history and health status of your pet
  • That your pet is healthy enough for air travel 

Make at least five copies of the certification and vaccination records for the following:

  • Airline
  • Pet travel crate
  • Transit permit (if necessary)
  • Japanese quarantine
  • One for you


Quarantine is mandatory for pets that do not meet the Japanese import regulations. Upon entry, each pet will undergo an import quarantine inspection. Pets face up to 180 days of quarantine at the Animal Quarantine Service.

Additional Information

There are no restrictions on the number of pets imported, but the local Japanese authorities might have local regulations about the number of pets that can be kept in residential premises.

Pets can enter Japan via Chubu International, Haneda, Fukuoka, Kagoshima, Kitakyusyu, Kansai International, Naha, Narita International and New Chitose airports.

You are required to obtain all of the necessary permits that will allow you to import your pets into Japan. PetAir can also help you arrange the import permit on your behalf. Quarantine officers may not allow pets to enter the country if there are no import permits. 

We hope that this reassures you, but should you need more specific advice, please let the helpful team at PetAir help, they are all delighted to help you.

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